Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Ruth's Chris Steak House -- Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs

On Saturday, S and I enjoyed dinner at Ruth's Chris Steak House inside the Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs Casino, courtesy of CC. Thanks CC--you are a treasure and a tribute to your race and gender!

The restaurant is located on the outside of the pedestrian ring that encircles the slot-floor and is impossible to miss as you walk around the casino perimeter. We arrived at around 6:30 and there were perhaps hundreds of gamblers in the ring, each feverishly punching away their children's college funds, hoping beyond all hope for that one knock-out punch that would make it all ok.

As we approached the restaurant we faced a tinted glass facade behind which we knew not what to expect, this being our first foray to this place. The greeter opened the door from the inside, held it open before us and welcomed us as we stepped inside the antechamber. When we informed the hostess that we had no reservations, she asked would we mind dining in the lounge, and when we responded in the negative, we were immediately ushered through a curved passageway to the inner sanctum, this monument to beef, the lounge.

The lounge consists of a U-shaped bar, with stools for maybe 30, topped with crystalline, black granite and high pub tables with the same material for their mesas. Perhaps 10 tables-for-two stand sentry around the lounge perimeter. The area is wonderfully dark, intoxicating, and seductive, and is an absolutely perfect place to take a date. Not a first date mind you, but someplace you take your Love after you've been going out for a while and wish to seal-the-meal.

Hey! Look at Me! I'm a high-roller!

The lighting is subdued, as it should be to make even late-night casino crawling skanks look good. No wait, scratch that, to make cosmopolitan high-rollers look even better than celebrity models. Jazzy, piano-bar music filters down from someplace overhead, to complete the scene.

Upon being seated a waiter bustled over and put down a cloth-napkin placemat and orchestrated an arrangement of silverware before us, and asked: Will you be having any wine tonight? I rasped out a Perhaps and opened the wine-list to give it a once-over.

Their wine-list is huge and seems to have been arranged with pairing in mind--for different dishes there's a suggested variety of wine. Nice touch. Bottles, half-bottles, and glasses are available and the prices seem reasonable as far as restaurant prices go.

But what I was really looking for was a beer-menu. And upon that menu, I was hoping to find a nice hoppy micro brew to pair with my bouf, but alas, all they had were macro lagers, Yuengling Lager, and Guinness Pub Draught. That's it! What a disappointment. So...instead of beer we opted for Basket Case Syrah, after all, the bottle said it's for the crazy in all of us.

Bread was brought immediately which we devoured like we hadn't eaten in days, one hand, moving hand to mouth and the other flipping the pages of the menu.

I'm a rib-eye man myself and was immediately drawn to it like flys on a steer. It doesn't take me long to make up my mind. S on the other hand, must read every....single.....appetizer....entree.....side.....salad......choice.

Our waitress came over and informed us as we looked over the menu that the sides are large and a single one of which is enough for two. I asked S to pick the sides as this is one of the most important decisions to be made when in steak house heaven.

Once S finally decided what to have, Saturday night had become early Sunday morning and we had gone through another waitress shift-change. I ordered my rib-eye medium rare, with onions and mushrooms, S ordered the petit filet cooked medium-well, with Lobstah tail and we shared a side of potato au gratin and a second side of asparagus.

When our meals arrived they were literally sizzling on the plates and we were dutifully warned that they were very hot. Good thing, too as ever since the AC/DC concert I haven't been able to hear a thing. The steaks were prepared perfectly to our specifications, as stringent as they are. My rib-eye was as succulent as summer watermelon and as tender as S's inner thigh. S's petit filet was not quite as tender but still excellent and the lobster was as usual tasty. The potato was excellent, and the asparagus tasted like it came out of my father's garden that morning, even though way out of season.

For desert we ordered creme brulee and wondered aloud whether it would arrive with or without the utensil which would be used to open a crevasse to be filled with the mighty creme juice. It did not, to our relief, as filling a crevasse with creme juice is something that should be done discretely or at the very minimum when dining at the Four Seasons in Scottsdale.

The staff at this restaurant is attentive without being cloying--the manager stopped by to check on us as well as top off our wine glasses, part-way through our dinner. Now, I have been to a few steak houses in NYC, Keen's and Frankie and Johnnies, come to mind, and I'm here to tell you that the steaks here are as good as those. However, and this is a big one, this restaurant's prices are high by NEPA standards and frankly equivalent to the two places I just mentioned in New York. But on the other hand, while I can get a great steak at The Ovalon, The Powerhouse, or Damenti's, and they may be less in price, they just don't stack up with those at Ruth's Chris. To Ruth's Chris credit, they do offer an $89 dinner for two package that includes a choice of steak entrees, sides, and desert. So you can savor the atmosphere and steak and save a little cash for the slots.

Overall, this is a great place to bring a date or for a special occasion and at the same time achieve steak nirvana. However, please, please, please, I beg of you, offer some craft beer!

1 comment:

John P. said...

Surprising they don't have a craft beer menu. I guess they haven't figured it out yet. I often wondered how their steaks are but the prices scare me.